Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: parental content control for free OSs?

m.alessandrini writes: Children grow up, and inevitably they will start using internet and social networks, both for educational and recreational purposes. And it won't take long to them to learn to be autonomous, especially with all the smartphones and tablets around and your limited time.
Unlike the years of my youth, when internet started to enter our lives gradually, now I'm afraid of the amount of inappropriate contents a child can be exposed to unprepared: porn, scammers, cyberbullies or worse, are just a click away.
For Windows many solutions claim to exist, usually in form of massive antivirus suites. What about GNU/Linux? Or Android? Several solutions rely on setting up a proxy with a whitelist of sites, or similar, but I'm afraid this approach can make internet unusable, or otherwise be easy to bypass. Have you any experiences or suggestions? Do you think software solutions are only a part of the solution, provided children can learn hacking tricks better than us, and if so, what other "human" techniques are most effective?

Submission + - The best—and worst—places to drive your electric car (

sciencehabit writes: For those tired of winter, you’re not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict: Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters.

Submission + - Texas college take over drone by GPS spoofing (

Simon321 writes: A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory recently succeeded in raising the eyebrows of the US government. With just around $1,000 in parts, Humphreys’ team took control of an unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the college, all in front of the US Department of Homeland Security. Iran has claimed to use a similar technique to capture a US surveillance drone last year. The US military denied this and claimed 'Iran had nothing to do with the UAV crash landing'.

Submission + - Life on Mars found – in 1976 by Viking Lander (

djl4570 writes: "The USA’s Viking mission found life on Mars, says a new paper that has re-analysed data collected by the two probes." Using advanced mathematical techniques to treat the old experimental data as complex system could reveal a signal that was not previously detected. Time will tell if we actually get to see the rat-bat-spider-crab live in 1080p.

Submission + - Scientists Claim Viking Mars Missions have Proof of Life (

Fluffeh writes: "New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week. The new study took a different approach. Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. They found close correlations between the Viking experiment results' complexity and those of terrestrial biological data sets. They say the high degree of order is more characteristic of biological, rather than purely physical, processes."

Submission + - ACTA in Europe - The beginning of the end? (

WhyNotAskMe writes: "the European Parliament's INTA committee gets it. Last week, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliment came out with its draft opinion (short pdf) of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It was an eye opener. Its conclusion was that it feels compelled to call on the Committee on International Trade to withhold its consent to the agreement.

Glyn Moody of ComputerWorld UK sums it up his latest ACTA update. This is the clearest and most rational analyses of the problems with ACTA that I have seen to date. It is like a breath of fresh air.

Did you know that ACTA is so worrysome that even Amesty International has felt compelled to weigh in on the issue? They urged the EU to reject international anti-counterfeiting pact. "Implementing the agreement could open a Pandora's box of potential human rights violations. Worryingly, ACTA’s text does not even contain references to safeguards like ‘fundamental rights’, ‘fair use’, or ‘due process’, which are universally understood and clearly defined in international law,”.

In the USA, Senator Wyden has demanded that ACTA go Before Congress. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, MPAA Chief Dodd Hints At Talks To Revive SOPA

There is an election coming up in the USA. Is there some way these issues can be pushed to the fore? A way to force every candiddate to take a stand on copyright issues? In the Chris Dodd discussion linked to in the paragraph above, people are so angry the tone is scary. The question is, are they angry enough to show up with pickets at every candidate rally? Can internet freedoms be made into The single biggest issue of election?

Politicians are skilled at discerning the will of the people when their attention is properly focused and they are encouraged to do so. We must give them that encouragement and focus, by whatever means we have at our disposal. We must demand a moratorium on secret and fast-tracked negotiations while governments consult the people they represent. It's the democratic way.The power of the corporate lobbies needs to be curbed and their voices muted. The people must be heard. Legislation crafted to respect the will of the majority will garner their respect and consequently, will be easier to enforce. Please see our manifesto."


Submission + - Elgin Gas Leak: who's paying attention? (

cedarhillbilly writes: "New Scientist has been doing a bang up job of covering a major drilling 'accident' in the North Sea where a drilling rig operated by France's Total has released a pool of natural gas into the atmosphere. Because it's not on CNN's doorstep and no one's been killed so far, the Elgin leak has received scant attention in US media. Still it's huge and raises some interesting questions about drilling safety. In today's installment of the coverage, New Scientist shows the 'purple haze' (great graffix) hovering over the site of the leak. Look at the photo, then drill down (ouch) thru the links to get the rest of the story!"

Submission + - Scientists create quantum computer in a diamond (

MrSeb writes: "A new experiment out of the University of Southern California (USC) might have solved one of the toughest problems in quantum computing, and it did so by building a computer inside a diamond. This new computer isn’t going to be doing your taxes any time soon, but it shows the viability of solid-state quantum computers to lessen decoherence. Put simply, decoherence is a loss of observable information, which is the last thing you want in a computer. The diamond computer developed at USC makes use of the impurities in the crystalline structure to make up its two quantum bits, or qubits. The researchers were able to prove that they had indeed built a solid-state quantum computer by supplying it with a simple data set, and applying Grover’s algorithm, which is a mathematical proof demonstrating the potential power of quantum computers. Grover’s algorithm states that a quantum computer will be able to find a specified entry in an unsorted list on the first try, every time. A human trying to do this would have to go down the list checking each entry to see if it was the right one. Going this route, you would on average check half the list before finding the right entry. USC's diamond-encrusted computer was able to find the correct choice on the first try 95% of the time, thus proving that the researchers successfully built a functional quantum computer."

Submission + - How to stop files from opening in Windows 8 Metro style apps (

An anonymous reader writes: If you are testing Windows 8, you might have noticed that a lot of file formats (music, images and videos) by default open in Metro style apps, which by the way these apps are in beta as well, and if you still are a desktop user and you aren’t ready to fully embrace Metro, you may want to stop files from opening in Metro.

Submission + - LHC at 4TeV (

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists from CERN announced a new world record in the energy beam.The collision energy of 8 TeV is a new world record, and increases the machine’s discovery potential considerably. Although the increase in collision energy is relatively modest, it translates to an increased discovery potential that can be several times higher for certain hypothetical particles. Though it is suspected supersymmetry may not be a fortunate approach, operation at 4 TeV will likely rule out or confirm the existence of Higgs boson.

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